Coming in, the Dallas Cowboys had everything going against them. DeMarcus Ware was iffy, they have a history of December blunders, they had lost five straight to the New Orleans Saints, and the Saints were playing at home (where they have been extremely tough). So, how in the world could the Cowboys come out clicking on all cylinders and pull out a 24-17 victory in the Superdome in December?
Well, if you want an answer to that question, you need to look at the defensive intesity, and the leadership shown by Tony Romo.
The Dallas defense played surprisingly well against Drew Brees and the Saints, who were supposed to burn the secondary with their speedy receivers. They got the Saints to go three-and-out on their first two drives, as they wrapped up ball-carriers and tackled well. Following that, the defensive front got some nice pressure on Brees, as they sacked him 4 times, including 2 forced fumbles by DeMarcus Ware. In addition, they got an interception out of Mike Jenkins in Dallas territory. To me, it just looked like the Cowboys were well-prepared for everything the Saints had to throw at them; at least until the end of the game, when they almost blew it.
Although the defense was instrumental in the win, the biggest factor for Dallas, in my opinion, was the play of Tony Romo, who remained calm throughout the game. Instead of being the guy who crumbled in the big spot, Romo played like the guy who wanted the ball in his hands with the game on the line. He used his legs to his benefit, and he was able to keep the ball out of the defenders hands. In fact, when the Saints were showing their resolve, and they almost came back, I said that the only guy that could get the momentum back for Dallas was Romo. And this is from a guy who is known for having leadership issues!
Romo continually came up huge on third downs, and he completed a pass to Miles Austin on a 3rd and 7 that totally shifted momentum from New Orleans to Dallas. Once he completed that pass, I knew he had finally overcome his fumble against the Seahawks from 2006. His ability to face adversity head-on, and to embrace the moment and own it, I knew the Cowboys had the game won. Of course, outside of a near late-game collapse, courtesy of Nick “I don’t deserve a job in this economy” Folk, Romo had me believing in the Dallas Cowboys.
If Romo, and the Dallas defense can play at that level on a consistent basis, there is no reason why they cannot be the team representing the NFC in the Super Bowl this season. However, that is what the Cowboys have always struggled with; consistency.
As for now, the Cowboys should enjoy their victory, cut Nick Folk, and get ready for the Redskins next week.
Current: Coming Soon!